‘Monsoon slightly late, may be below normal’
Landfall likely on June 4 in Kerala; East, Central India at drought risk
Private weather forecaster Skymet Weather has reiterated its prediction of a belownormal monsoon this year, and given the significance of this at a time when farmers in many parts of the country are already in the grip of an agrarian crisis, all eyes are now on the India Meteorological Department or IMD which will release its own update later this month.
On Tuesday, Skymet said the monsoon will set in over Kerala on June 4 and that monsoon rains will be below normal at 93% of the Long period Average or LPA.
It added that all four regions of the country will see below normal rains, especially in June and the first half of July.
Skymet Weather’s monsoon forecast may have serious implications for agriculture because pre-monsoon rainfall was 21% below the long period average of 82.5mm between March 1 and May 8, according to IMD.
North-west India with a deficit of 37% and peninsular India with a deficit of 39% are the worst affected. The soil is dry in these regions, and a below normal monsoon is likely to make it even more difficult for farmers who will begin sowing of kharif (or monsoon) crops in June.
The monsoon usually sets in over Kerala by June 1. Last year, it did so on May 29. The monsoon then advances northwards, usually in surges, and covers the entire country around July 15. In 2017, the monsoon set in over Kerala on May 30. IMD is likely to announce its own monsoon onset date on Wednesday.
On April 3, Skymet Weather
forecast below-normal monsoon, but on April 15, IMD forecast that there would be a “near normal” monsoon at 96% of LPA.
M Rajeevan, secretary, ministry of earth sciences (MoES), said at the time that the department expects a good distribution of rainfall across the country.